Rugby legend, Jonny Wilkinson, experienced first-hand the devastating effects high-pressure situations can have on someone’s mental health. Following the dizzying heights of England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup History, he reported experiencing heightened anxiety, which snowballed to a severe disorder and depression. Since his retirement, Jonny now supplies struggling audiences with the techniques need to achieve mental peace, and reignite their passion for life.
Jonny’s career is living proof that “not everything that glitters is gold”. The nation’s favourite athlete enjoyed great success with the England rugby team, including a World Cup title in 2003; however, the pressure to perform became too much to bear and, upon his retirement, Jonny admitted to suffering with his mental health. He now speaks openly about his ongoing quest for happiness, including the damaging expectation that suffering leads to joy or success. Jonny dismantles the stigma surrounding men’s mental health with his inspiring story.
Arguably, Jonny’s most impressive sporting achievement was his winning drop-kick at the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Following victory at the Six Nations, where Jonny was named Man of the Match in the final, the England side beat some of the most formidable teams in the world, including Wales and Australia, to take the World Cup trophy for the first time. In doing so, Jonny was named the tournament’s leading points scorer, and won the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year and the IRB International Player of the Year.
After moving to Toulon, with whom Jonny won the ERC European Player of the Year and led the team to victory at the 2014 Heineken Cup, he retired from rugby. In several interviews since, Jonny has reflected on the impact that stress had on his mental health, and the mindfulness techniques that helped him recover. Now a sports presenter for ITV and public speaker, he continues to rewrite the stereotypes surrounding men’s mental health that prevent thousands of sufferers from seeking help.
“We have had some amazing feedback, with a couple of people even saying Jonny was the best speaker so far! Great take home messages, and amazing honesty from him.”